Piloting a vintage warplane takes extra study

  • Wed Oct 3rd, 2012 2:24pm
  • Life

By Cory Graff Flying Heritage Collection

You know that uncomfortable feeling when you first sit in a rental car? Finding the seat adjustment handle, the fuel door release, and twisting the mirrors to the right spot? If locating the wiper switch on the car was as important as knowing how the landing gear handle worked on a plane, you’d take a bit more time to study before rolling out into the Vegas night, don’t you think?

Our pilots have to study. Thousands of hours in an F/A-18 or 767 still leave gaps in your game when it comes to flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 or a Zero. Our pilots read the pilot’s manual again and again come in to the hangar and sit in the cockpit for a long, long time. This image shows pilot Ross Granley, studying the controls of the Il-2 Shturmovik.

Figuratively speaking, the FHC’s pilots know right where all the “wiper switches” are and exactly how they work before they taxi to the runway for a flight.